Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata recently spoke about changes made to the final product, including one of the biggest: the removal of the massive and then playable “Niflheim’s invasion” scene shown back in the E3 2013 trailer.
Tabata explained the reasoning behind his decision, which turned out to be a surprisingly complicated answer:
When we first sat down to re-plan the project that’s Final Fantasy XV, we really looked at which elements we need and should use and could do to create that kind of unique gameplay experience that we wouldn’t really get anywhere else. It was a very in-depth discussion about what elements to keep and what to throw away or change. We felt because the theme we’re trying to handle here with the story is such a massive epic tale, we really couldn’t fit all of that into the game that we had the time to make. So we wanted to show the essential things to get the best story across, which is where we decided on that—that’s reflected in the final form of the game.
It’s not that we don’t need to show the Niflheim invasion to get the story across, but because that episode is something that would take up so much effort and time that rather than force it into the game, we started up its own separate project independently, and that’s the tale we wanted to tell with the film. That’s why we moved that to Kingsglaive. From a story perspective we’d have to have both the game and the film, both of these together in one package, but realistically that’s not something we could have done in one game, it’s too much.
It’s very similar to the kind of decision we had to ask ourselves, OK do we spend another six years to develop that whole complete package as one game or do we spend three years to do it in the way that we’re doing now? I think, it really doesn’t affect it which one you get to see—from a story perspective whether you see it as part of the game or through the film, and how we tell that story is not such a thing which is affected by that choice. We really are confident that we’ve made a really great experience with that. We felt the most important thing we needed to depict through the game was that idea of traveling together with these comrades and watching them all grow and develop as people emotionally at the same time. We really have gotten that in there, so from a story perspective I think we’ve done the best we can.